This program was called Pooch to 5K and it was programming to have you run with your dog and to be capable of running a 5K.
I started running with my older dog, Ruger, who's a black lab, and once she was old enough, my English Pointer, Rory, started running with me as well.
And let me tell you, running with dogs can be EXTRA challenging!
Anyone who has ever run with a dog can tell you that you should NEVER take your dogs with you on a serious training run. Dogs on a run are best suited for those days where you're simply out to log some time and/or distance.
For starters, when you run with a dog that's on a leash, you have the bonus obstacle of playing jump rope with the leash. Even the best trained running buddy can still tie you up every once in awhile. Not to mention every time your dog needs to put on the brakes suddenly to stop and pee, poop, smell something, stare at something... And the sudden accelerations can be just as taxing! The urge to chase birds and butterflies and bunnies and all manner of animals is strong - just like my right arm is getting to be after having to hold on to the leash all the time to keep my shoulder from being yanked out of its socket!
Besides the added obstacles the dogs add, trying to hang on to them while leashed completely throws off any "running technique" you may think you have. Trying to focus on landing on your mid-foot? Not gonna happen. Keeping your arms and shoulders relaxed? Not when you're pulling on a leash. Having two dogs leashed at least balances out the arms, but please refer back to the paragraph above. :) Have a set pace you would like to run at? I'm pretty sure your dog didn't get that memo. If you were planning a speed day, this will be the day that your dog feels the need to stop and pee or sniff everything along your route. Wanted to take it nice and slow? Too bad, because your dog has decided to do sprint repeats. Except without breaks in between.
Thankfully for me, we have a couple of running trails near my house where dogs are welcome to run off-leash. Neither of these trails is exceptionally long, but a couple laps at either will help get in some good mileage.
The truth of the matter is though, that despite its challenges, a run with your dog can actually be a pretty enjoyable time. And dogs are great at forcing you into those situations where you meet new people. And they can really make you stop and appreciate just being outside. They know that sometimes, to get the most enjoyment out of a run, you have to stop and look around you (and maybe sniff).
Last summer, one of the 5K races I did was small race held in Bellaire, MI. The reason I signed up for it was because it was a race that encouraged you to run with your dog. Since Ruger and I had been running buddies all last summer, I was excited that for once he would get to participate in the racing part of it as well. Plus, the dogs got little "swag bags" as well with dog treats inside. The race was put on by and for a local Pet Crisis Center called With A Little Help From My Friends. This organization is unique in that it's not a traditional animal shelter that takes in strays or where owners can surrender their pets if they can no longer take them. Instead, they offer a temporary place where owners can have their pets stay until the owner can properly take care of them again. For instance, if you recently lost your home and have to move temporarily into an apartment that doesn't allow pets, WALHFMF will house and care for your animal until you can find housing that allows pets. And, in the event that you end up not being able to care for them, you can decide to allow them to try and find your pet a new home. They're a great group and they put on this 5K every year in August, so I encourage you to join them if you can.